Apr 5, 2023
The Kansas Rugby family would like to extend our condolences to the Schwartz family. Gary was not only well known in the track & field community across the country, including a Hall of Fame career here at KU both as a player and coach, but he was a huge supporter of the KJRFC through his two sons, Matt & Mike, who are club legends themselves. Gary has undoubtedly impacted the lives of hundreds and though he will be missed, his legacy will live on through those individuals. A true Kansas legend. Read a little more about Gary’s career below. Much love to the Schwartz family.
Schwartz was a member of the Kansas track and field from 1962-1966, helping Kansas to three Big Eight titles and winning a conference championship in the discus throw as a junior. The team captain went on to graduate in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in education.
After college, Schwartz embarked on a 34-year cross country/track and field coaching career that earned him 10 region coach of the year awards as well as the NCAA Division I National Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year honor in 1983.
In 21 years as a head coach, his athletes earned 133 All-American honors, he coached six top-4 teams at the NCAA Championships and he coached eight Olympians. Schwartz also served on four coaching staffs for U.S. teams in international competition – in Spain, England, Belgium and Canada – and he was a coach at the National Sports Festival in both 1982 and ’83.
Schwartz was an assistant at Ohio University, Massachusetts, Army and Penn State before becoming Penn State’s head women’s cross country and track coach in 1979, a position he held for five years. He then was the coach at Tennessee for four years (1984-88) before coming back to coach at his alma mater, Kansas, for 12 years (1988-2000).
Schwartz was inducted into the KU Hall of Fame after directing the men’s track team to a top four national finish back in 1989.
Later on in his career, Schwartz spent time as an athletic administrator at Arkansas and was the technical director of the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.